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What We Do

The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organization addressing a wide range of public policy issues. We have deep expertise on budget and tax issues, education policy, environmental protection, and health care policy. We produce books, policy studies, and shorter publications and send many of them to every national and state elected official in the United States. We have comprehensive communications and government relations programs, as well. More information about these programs appears below.

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In addition to a full-time staff of 39, approximately 370 academics and professional economists participate in Heartland’s peer-review process as policy advisors and more than 250 elected officials serve on its Legislative Forum. Twenty-five senior fellows are available to write, speak, or comment in-depth on a wide range of policy issues.
Woman carrying a stack of books
Heartland has published more than two dozen books ranging in length from fewer than 100 pages to more than 1,000 pages, some with circulation of more than 100,000 copies. Heartland has published more than 140 peer-reviewed policy studies and scores of policy briefs, Research & Commentary collections, and booklets. Surveys show 82 percent of state legislators read at least one of Heartland’s publications sometimes or always.
Man staring up at interior of a capitol dome
Our government relations staff made more than 1 million contacts with elected officials in 2016, including 4,963 face-to-face contacts. These are virtually all educational contacts – we do not lobby. Our government relations staff calls legislators to ask if they need information, are aware of new developments in other states, and if we can send the “best available research” on issues they are coping with.
Man at podium with media microphones
We send out a constant stream of op-eds, news releases, letters to the editor, podcasts, and much more. In 2016, we appeared in print and on television or radio 853 times with a combined print circulation of 67.7 million readers. We hosted 15 websites generating more than 1.8 million pages views.


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We are leaders in online communication, generating almost 1.8 million page views on our websites and blogs in 2016. Our Facebook page registered more than 100,000 fans and more than 13.6 million impressions in 2016.
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Our 33 years in public policy, solid research and publications, and repeated communications with state legislators have made Heartland a credible, independent, “go-to” source for thousands of elected officials and other opinion leaders. A telephone survey of 503 randomly selected state and local elected officials conducted in 2016 by Victory Enterprises found 82% of the state elected officials surveyed read one or more Heartland newspapers “sometimes” or “always”; 43% consider Heartland to be a “very” or “somewhat” valuable source of information; and 45% reported a Heartland publication “influenced my opinion or led to a change in public policy.”
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The Heartland Institute’s influence is not limited to a single political party. The Victory Enterprises survey showed strong appeal on both sides of the political aisle. Seventy-eight percent of Democratic state legislators recognize The Heartland Institute, 77 percent read one or more Heartland newspapers “sometimes” or “always,” and 33% reported a Heartland publication “influenced or led to a change in public policy.”

Heartland Institute 2016 Annual Report
Our 2016 annual report, Freedom Rising, summarizes what we do ... and how well we do it.
The Heartland Institute's quarterly QPR newsletter
The quarterly QPR newsletter offers an opening essay by Heartland President Joseph Bast and summaries of the activities of each of Heartland's topic centers.
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The Heartland Institute’s senior fellows, managing editors, and senior staff make outstanding speakers at public events. In 2016, they spoke at 120 events, entertaining and informing 13,474 audience members.

2018 By the Numbers

See what sets Heartland apart:
82% of state elected officials read Heartland publications
of state elected officials read one or more Heartland newspapers "sometimes" or "always."
45% of elected officials say Heartland led to a change in policy
of state elected officials say a Heartland publication influenced their opinions or led to a change in public policy.
3.2 Million
the number of times Heartland's six podcasts were downloaded in 2018
184 issues
of weekly e-newsletters sent to subscribers across the country
158 events
that Heartland hosted, attended, or spoke at, reaching over 34,000 guests in 2018.
100,000 fans
on Facebook posting and reposting over 1 million times a week